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Inspirational Interview: Hillary (with 2 L’s, please!)

by Ashley on February 18, 2013 · 1 comment

This is one of our Inspirational Interviews in which we talk to people who have imagined big dreams, made them a reality, and are living a life they love. Today we are talking to Hillary about her battle with postpartum depression and her decision to walk away from an unhealthy job to spend more time with her son. 

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1. Tell us a little about yourself!

I’m Hillary (with 2 L’s, please!) I live in British Columbia with my husband Shawn, our 18-month old son Grady, and our two monsterpups Stella and Wolfgang. The last two and a half years have brought some pretty big changes to my life (surprise pregnancy! moving to a new city while pregnant! husband switching jobs while I was in the middle of quitting mine! etc) – it’s been difficult for this type-A gal to go with the flow but I’m learning. I turned 30 last year and leaving my twenties behind has given me this feeling of freedom, like I’ve got a clean slate.

2. What does living a “super awesome life” look like for you?

Living a super awesome life means knowing when to take things seriously and when to have fun. It means making sure that the people I love know how I feel about them. It means fighting for things that are important to me. It means saying yes more and trying to plan less.

3. You recently decided to leave a job that was unhealthy for you. What helped you finally walk away?

My son. I stayed at my job for seven long, miserable years because I thought it was a job I “should” want. I went back to my job when Grady was six months old and tried to make it work. After six months of stress and misery, I decided that I couldn’t justify being away from Grady for twelve hours a day if those twelve hours were spent doing a job I disliked for people I didn’t respect. I wanted the time I spend away from my kid to mean something.

4. What inspired you to begin training to become a doula?

I was surrounded by an awesome support team both during Grady’s birth and in the weeks after he was born when I was struggling with raising a fussy newborn while suffering from postpartum mood disorder. When I came out on the other side, when I felt whole again, I realized that I wanted to be like the women who helped me. I want to help women have empowering birth experiences. I don’t want birth to be something that we have to endure; I want birth to be something we can celebrate instead of fear.

5. You’re very open sharing your struggles with postpartum depression. What would you say to another women going through something similar?

Build your team before you need it. I was completely unprepared for the possibility of postpartum depression / anxiety / ocd but I was lucky – I had an online support group already in place (shoutout to all the #zombiemoms on Twitter!) When things started to go pear-shaped, I had an awesome bunch of women who recognized what was happening and encouraged me to get help. I’m not sure I would have sought help as early as I did if I didn’t have people pushing me to tell my doctor how I felt.

If you think you are currently suffering from postpartum depression (or any depression!) please, please tell someone you trust. I felt a lot of guilt about my postpartum depression. I had a healthy baby and I felt so ashamed to feel depressed and anxious instead of happy. Now I can see how illogical my thoughts were, but in the thick of sleep-deprivation and huge hormone swings I honestly felt like I was a disgusting person and a horrible mother. I think it’s really important to acknowledge that mental illness is not a weakness and we all need a little help sometimes.

6. What little things in life right now make you you do a happy dance? Big things?

Little: Steaming the exact right amount of milk to fill my favourite mug for my morning latte; hearing Grady say “bird” like a stereotypical New Yorker (“boyd! boyd!”) ; clean bed linens; getting my favourite spot in the yoga studio; Bachelor Monday with friends (I will not be shamed by this.)

Big: Learning about pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding and not doubting even for a second that I’m on the right path; watching my husband and son bond and build their relationship separate from my relationships with them.

7. In the movie of your life, who would you want to play you?

Tina Fey. I just love her to bits.

8. What is one thing you’d like to change about the world?

I wish I could make everyone just a little bit more gentle to others and to themselves.

9. What quote best represents you or motivates you in your current place in life?

“All I can do is be me – whoever that is.” I love this quote by Bob Dylan. I actually have it hanging up in Grady’s room. I love that it’s a reminder for myself but also a reminder that all Shawn can do is be himself and all Grady can do is be himself and we all need to accept and love each other for who we are.

10. What inspires you to continue living a life you love each day?

My son. He is so full of joy and excitement. I want to live a life that reflects his enthusiasm and encourages him to chase his dreams.

Thanks so much for sharing, Hillary! Have you ever decided to walk away from a job? What was your catalyst?

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Bev February 19, 2013 at 7:11 am

Love the interview! I worked in a family support program for several years, and I have to say before that I had no idea how common postpartum depression/anxiety were. It’s unfortunate it’s so hush hush–I think as Hillary said, it leaves mom feeling guilty and alone, when during this time more than ever they need to feel supported. I’m glad she had wonderful people to support her during that time and she can speak so freely about it now–I think just sharing her storing will help other moms. Thanks, Hillary!

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